Many people will remember 2003 as the year the United States entered into a war with Iraq — something that would backfire a couple years later. However, the war was so popular at first that artists like The Dixie Chicks and Madonna suffered backlash for being outspoken against President Bush and the war.
In terms of music, 2003 was the year dance and rock officially went underground, and hip-hop had its complete takeover. Let’s take a look at the top five hits of 2003, which were calculated by Billboard and reported on by Music Outfitters.
5. 3 Doors Down, “When I’m Gone”
3 Doors Down had one of the rare rock hits of 2003. However, the song was initially released in October of 2002 and — unlike the other songs on this list — didn’t hit No. 1 (peaked at No. 4). The song was the lead single from their second album Away from the Sun.
According to Songfacts, band member Brad Arnold wrote “When I’m Gone” about unconditional love, not about breaking up. The video for the song was dedicated to all of those in the military.
4. Beyonce ft. Jay-Z, “Crazy In Love”
Often considered Beyonce’s signature hit, “Crazy In Love” was the first single from Beyonce’s first solo album Dangerously in Love. It hit No. 1 in July of 2003 and stayed there for eight weeks. It would become one of two huge hits for Beyonce in 2003, with “Baby Love” featuring Sean Paul hitting No. 1 in October of 2003.
According to Songfacts, the horns for Beyonce’s top hit were sampled from “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So),” by the Chi-lites. “Crazy in Love” was the only hit song to top the charts in both the United States and the U.K. in 2003.
3. Sean Paul, “Get Busy”
Sean Paul made a huge name for himself in 2003, and he is still scoring No. 1 hits in 2016. “Get Busy” was the first release from his album Dutty Rock, and it spent three weeks at No. 1 in May of 2003. Sean Paul would also score a No. 1 hit later in the year with Beyonce.
According to Songfacts, “Get Busy” also charted in the top 10 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and many other countries. The site also notes that the style of this 2003 hit is known as “Diwali Riddim,” which, in Jamaica, means a rhythmic-oriented instrumental with a rap or vocal performance. “Get Busy” is still a recurrent hit until this day and has been covered by many artists.
2. R. Kelly, “Ignition”
R. Kelly, fresh from accusations of sexual abuse, was able to override the controversy and release one of the biggest hits of his career. “Ignition,” which was actually released in 2002, was the first single from his album Chocolate Factory. When the remix was released in January of 2003, the song took off to the stratosphere.
“R. Kelly’s seminal hit begins with the crooner telling us that he ‘usually doesn’t do this,’ but remixing ‘Ignition’ was undoubtedly his best career move. The song continues to be a mainstay, from the radio to the nightclub,” the Huffington Post wrote on the 10th anniversary of its release.
1. 50 Cent, “In da Club”
“In da Club” is what many would consider the biggest party song of the 2000s. It was the first release from 50 Cent’s 2003 album Get Rich or Die Tryin and spent nine weeks at No. 1 beginning in March of 2003. This top hit made several “best of” lists at the end of the decade.
According to Songfacts, “In da Club,” which was produced by Dr. Dre and Mike Elizondo, was originally intended for Eminem to use on the soundtrack for 8 Mile. The song has never lost its relevance since the beginning lines are about celebrating a birthday.
[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]